Posted 18 October 2016 by Sal
Being Human, Here and Now
At times during the day when I still believe I am a person or have a personality, I get wrapped up in that. I know it doesn’t mean I am not aware, but you seem to be taking that further and saying you don’t believe in a self, ever. Is that right?
Let’s look at the first statement. Yes, you are always aware, even in deep sleep, although you are not consciously aware, or don’t remember it. You know you are aware in deep sleep because when the alarm goes off, you wake up. Obviously, you must be aware of the alarm. But, in the waking state, which is the state in which we can inquire, you are always consciously aware, usually of some object such as a thought, emotion, sound, sensation, etc. Also, in the waking state, we can, through this work, become consciously aware of nothing in particular—aware, knowing itself, here and now, with all the currently appearing objects included.
In the second part of your statement, you ask if I ever believe in a self. Let’s say some thoughts are appearing in your mind now, and you are aware of those thoughts. Why do you take those thoughts to indicate an entire self? Why isn’t it just one thought appearing in the moment, and then another thought appearing in the moment?
I guess there is not a good reason for it.
There is only now, right? There is no past hidden somewhere. If there is only now and there is no past, where is the self, this story character created with its background and history, and whatever psychological things that have allegedly happened? Where is any of that stuff that you seem to remember and hold on to as a self, a me? Where is it now?
It doesn’t exist.
Right. That is why I say there is no self actually. There is only the belief that the amalgamation of thoughts and ideas that appear in the brain refer to something in time called a self. You create a continuity of thought that is, in fact, not so. There is only one thought, now.
We see that here, there is only now and self doesn’t exist. It is a myth, it is not true. Is that clear, or am I just making it up?
No, I get that. What happens to me sometimes is that I will get wrapped up thinking I am a person, at the same time, knowing it is just a fleeting appearance. So, I feel it’s not a problem that I am a person, but you are saying you never think of yourself as a person.
Okay, I see. I never said that I don’t think of myself as a person. I am a person. I am a human being, here and now. That doesn’t have anything to do with the story of self that is a myth. The character, Salvadore, with his whole history and afflictions, and his future hopes and aspirations, is clearly not an existent fact, is it?
Not without using your mind.
I will go a step further than that. In truth, it is not, at all. You base your belief that there is a self on some very insubstantial and questionably remembered events from this life. These events are not present now. You put it together into a life-sized character in your mind, now, and believe it means there is a self and it is who you are. I simply say that character is not real, or actual. It is mythical. However, that doesn’t mean that here and now I am not a human being. We are called human beings. We are not called human self-ings. I am here now, being human with no history.
Really, all we are doing here is being honest. If I am very honest and truthful, I have to say, “I have no history.” If I want to lie and tell a tale of a mythical character named Salvadore, then I can say, “I have a history.” If you are here feeling like a human being, good because you are one. However, if you are here reviewing your very sketchy past story, your poor-me or great-me story, and going into descriptions of a character, then you are really just believing a myth that is not true.
I think where maybe it was a bit of an issue was thinking there were two ways to look at it. I could look at what is here right now, and then I could look at memories of the past, etc.
One way to see (the way we are seeing here), which is the same for all of us, is that there is no difference between any of us. We see this on a holiday. Let’s have one now.
Relax the focus of attention.
Allow attention to be open and free.
There is only now.
I know I am, here and now.
Where is this story of self, now?
I say this is the essential truth of who you are. The other way is to buy into the story, the myth of self, and by buying into it, suffer along with it.